More than 750 migratory birds have been found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Pong Dam lake in Kangra in recent days, according to Himachal Pradesh wildlife officials.
On Monday, wildlife staff deployed in the Dhameta range reported the sudden death of four Bar-Headed Geese and one Common Teal in Fatehpur area. An autopsy of the dead birds did not indicate poisoning as per the preliminary findings, and samples of the birds were then sent for further testing, a wildlife official said.
The next day, field staff of Pong Dam Lake wildlife sanctuary were asked to search the entire area for deaths of other birds, following which a total of 421 migratory birds were found dead in various parts of the sanctuary including the wildlife ranges of Dhameta and Nagrota, officials said. On Wednesday, 325 more birds were found dead in the lake sanctuary.
Samples of the dead Bar-Headed Geese have been taken to a veterinary laboratory in Shahpur and their viscera samples then sent to the veterinary college in Palampur and the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL) in Jalandhar.
“A team of veterinary doctors from Kangra will also visit the Guglara area for assessment of ground realities and send samples to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly, RDDL in Jalandhar and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun for further examination,” the official said.
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Meanwhile, Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania on Wednesday asked the wildlife wing to investigate the cause of death of the birds at the earliest.
“It’s an unfortunate incident for the state and a matter of concern,” he said, adding that if any foul play is ascertained, strict action will be taken against the guilty.
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